Open Season – Singmaster’s Conjecture

Science and maths are all about finding things out. Mathematics in particular is about making statements, and then determining their truth (or falsity). Finding a proof, or disproof, of a mathematical theory can be as simple as finding a counterexample, or it can take hundreds of authors tens of thousands of pages.

In this short series of articles, I’m going to write about some mathematical questions we don’t know the answer to – which haven’t yet been proven or disproven. Hopefully you will find it interesting, and maybe someone will even be inspired to delve deeper and find the answers themselves.

Carnival of Mathematics 94

Welcome to the 94th Carnival of Mathematics! This month the carnival has once again trundled in to Blackboard Bold at the Aperiodical, though this time with myself rather than Katie at the helm (carnivals have helms).

Mathematical Christmas Cracker Jokes

At this time of year, lame and/or groan-worthy jokes come to the fore, and are completely acceptable, and in some cases encouraged, provided they’re preceded by a bang noise and read out from a tiny piece of paper.

Rummaging around on my computer today, I found a set of mathematical Christmas cracker jokes I wrote for a party thrown for a group of mathematicians a couple of years ago, where I hacked apart a set of crackers and replaced the toys with tiny slide rules, the paper hats with ones cut into fractal curves along the top, and the existing terrible jokes with terrible mathematical ones. I thought I’d share them with you all, since they’re more likely to be appreciated by maths fans.

Who’s really good at the internet? I mean, really? Do any of us have a handle on that crazy pile of ones and zeroes that sucks away so much of our leisure time while simultaneously providing us with access to all of human knowledge at the click of a button? In another misguided attempt to help us all clamber on top of the ever-increasing pile of data and facts (and opinions), here’s some more recommendations of who to follow on Twitter, and some links and funny things they have recently Twittered.

As fans of maths, you’ll all be pleased to hear that in Ireland, they’ve basically got the correct attitude to maths, which is to say they dedicate a whole $\frac{1}{52}$ of their time to it. That’s right, they have an annual Maths Week, now in its ninth year, during which events are organised all over the country, the national and local media get involved, and generally try to get everyone talking about maths.